Amazon acquiring online pharmacy PillPack, sending drug retailer shares down

28 June, 2018, 22:27 | Author: Sue Riley
  • PillPack prepackages and mails consumers pills.									Pat Greenhouse  The Boston Globe

About 90 minutes later, Amazon announced it will acquire PillPack, a New Hampshire-based online pharmacy that delivers medications in pre-sorted doses. Bloomberg reported it to be $1 billion, citing a person it said was familiar with the matter.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

'PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology, ' said Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.

The news comes just a week after a joint venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) named a CEO who will be tasked with significantly cutting healthcare costs.

Walgreens Boots Alliance's third-quarter profit beat analysts' expectations on Thursday, benefiting from its acquisition of Rite Aid stores, and the drugstore chain authorized a $10 billion share buyback program. The company then mails the medications to patients and coordinates refills and renewals.

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"We know that we have to change the level of our services to the customers and we are working quite hard on that direction, but we are not anxious", Pessina said.

"Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the health care industry to help people throughout the USA who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience", PillPack chief executive TJ Parker said in a statement. Shares of drug wholesalers McKesson Corp (MCK.N), Cardinal Health (CAH.N) and AmerisourceBergen (ABC.N) also fell sharply.

Echoing that sentiment, Morningstar senior analyst Vishnu Lekraj called the stock's tumble after the Amazon news a "huge overreaction", in an interview after the call. PillPack already raised over $120 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Pharmacy and health benefits companies have long fretted that they'd be next.

"PillPack is a wonderfully convenient service for getting prescription and non-prescription medications shipped to your door and doled out in packets with labeling that tells you when to take them", we wrote at the time.

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